Matthew Morrison Reveals He Was Quitting Glee Before Cory Monteith's Death

Matthew Morrison wanted to quit Glee—and had producer approval—before the untimely death of costar Cory Monteith: "It was a lot of mixed emotions."

By Sabba Rahbar Feb 16, 2024 2:01 AMTags
Watch: Glee Cast REGRETS Not Praising Cory Monteith's Acting

Matthew Morrison is reflecting on a less than gleeful chapter of his past.

The Glee actor, who played teacher Will Schuester from 2009 to 2015, revealed that he wanted to leave the FOX series during its fifth season. However, the fatal overdose of his costar Cory Monteith in July 2013 made him rethink his plans.

"I actually was trying to get off the show," Matthew told former costars Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz on the Feb. 15 episode of And That's What You REALLY Missed podcast. "In season five, I asked to be off the show because I was just like, 'I'm no longer being used in the way that I wanted to.'"

Though producers initially "agreed to let me off the show," Matthew said he was told "they couldn't do it" after Cory's death.

"Obviously, I understood," the 45-year-old continued. "Trying to reconcile my own wants and selfish needs with the grief of losing an amazing friend, it was a lot of mixed emotions."

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At the time, Matthew decided to put his feelings aside for the show's sake. "But I'm a professional, I showed up," he recalled, explaining that he eventually got a "good pay increase" so it all "worked out."

He added, "I did my job."

River Callaway/Variety via Getty Images

But it wasn't the only time Matthew's struggles with work conflicted with his personal life. As he explained, he was constantly stressed by online criticism about his character.

"You have these newsfeeds coming out, bashing the way you're playing your character," he said. "People trying to tear you down, and that got interesting."

Amid the "high highs" and "really devastating lows" of working on Glee, Matthew broke out with the psoriasis.

"I was just stressed," he continued, "our bodies are not designed to go through that kind of pressure."

Still, Matthew is grateful for his time on the show and how it continues to be relevant as a cultural touchpoint.

"The impact, that's the thing that will stand the test of time," he said. "For me, that's a beautiful thing."

Matthew added, "There are few and far between shows that have a cultural impact and a societal impact for people. I love being apart of that legacy."

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